Sunday, March 15, 2009

Healing is a Process

I think what I have been realizing the last few days is that healing is definitely a process. Some times it is faster than others and definitely comes in degrees. I am sure by reading my blog these last few days, you have noticed that I seem to get glimpses of healing /happiness and then there are those BIGGER THAN ME moments that follow very quickly. I know that there are levels of healing in this process, there is the obvious PHYSICAL healing, then there is the EMOTIONAL healing and also the SPIRITUAL healing, all which seem to be going on at different times and different levels. When I was at the Cancer Center the other day, I picked up a Survivor's magazine and found some interesting articles of other's who have fought this same battle. I really don't have any good advice today, so I will share some of theirs...


TAKE A BREAK FROM gets overwhelming, it is important to take some "ME" time and reconnect with yourself. The world will still need to be saved once you've refreshed

LIVE FOR THE PRESENT... I wake up each morning and feel gratitude that I get to have another day. Too often, we hold grudges or fret about circumstances in the past, or are eager for what tomorrow will bring. So take time to tell your husband and kids you love them, spend time with  your nieces and nephews and read a book. Today.

BUT DON'T FORGET THE PAST... I can still feel the emotions and remember the significant days of my cancer journey. Every experience has made me who I am today, for better or worse. We can't change the past, although we sometimes want to forget parts of it, but we can learn from it.

LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS ORGANIZED...I am a cancer survivor, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Try as I might to separate my life into neatly organized compartments, all of these qualities may take precedence at certain times, it is all of these, and the experiences that come with, that make me who I am.

THE END IS THE BEGINNING...I felt slightly lost when treatment ended. For more than a year I had routine, boring as it was. Chemo, doctor appointments, hospital stays, blood transfusions. Then it ended. No more imaginary safety net. No more doctors and nurses to protect me. My feelings of elation and freedom were countered by uncertainty and apprehension. After finally realizing all that was over then I took a good hard look at the girl in the mirror and realized there was a new me. I saw someone ready to face the world with a whole new outlook.

LEARNING NEVER ENDS... each time I think I've figured out what it means to be a cancer survivor, I realize there is more to learn, more to accept, more to let go of. It is a never-ending experience, one that I have finally learned to embrace and look forward to.

After reading this article, I realized that I am sorta where the end and the beginning is. I did not like going every day to the hospital and receive radiation treatments. But it did give me a routine and a reason to get up each morning and helped me feel like I was actively fighting my cancer each day.  Now that I am on my own, I am uncertain and anxious about the future. Can I really beat it again? Can I do all the little things that will make my body stronger and healthier? What if I get lost in life again and forget my priorities?  Weird, I know but she seemed to hit the nail on the head for me. I do have a Game Plan but it is a very personal one and one that I have to choose to do and act upon each day, lots of little things. Getting caught up and busy with life could keep me from remembering and doing what I am suppose to do. So I am a bit worried about that. Discipline is what it will take and a remembrance of why I am doing what I am doing. When you are all healed up physically I believe that you can forget all the little things that should be done to continue your fight. I don't want to forget to do those.

So I need to find my "NEW NORMAL", surgery and some side effects might make it hard for me to go back to  precancer activities as quickly as I would like. I know that recovery might take longer than I would like. The cancer doctor told me Friday that it will take at least a good 6 months to properly heal. I know that I will need to revise my expectations of myself and remind those closest to me that I need to be allowed to take the time I need to heal and feel healthy again. I will probably have to continue to adjust to the changes in my routine and my diet, develop better habits and try to slowly get back to practical matters that come in every day life. I still am trying to get comfortable with this new body of mine, definitely not there yet. Plus, I need to continue doing my own exams, not missing check ups and watching my body for any other type of recurrence. All that seems necessary but overwhelming. But today is almost over, maybe tomorrow will look better. Good night dear friends. Thank you!

"The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reasons for remaining ashore."     ____Vincent Van Gogh

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